Farage Fever: Cleggmania 2.0?

farage and cleggy

Written by Liam Menzies

Let’s face facts for a second: politics can be boring. There are only so many % marks and references to the deficit one person can stand before they just seclude themselves away. One thing they may do to escape reality are the joy of video-games.

You might be wondering why I’d mention videogames, often misinterpreted as a childish pastime, in a subject as adult orientated as politics. However, mentioning them will help make the following comparison a hell of a lot easier to understand. See, anyone who enjoys a branch of entertainment, be it films, music or books, will experience something, a title that is faced with the impossible task of filling in the shoes it’s been predicted to fit by the overbearing parent-like public. This happens a lot with videogames, most recently with Destiny, the most expensive videogame ever made. What’s becoming an occurring problem though is this failure to fill in the shoes; in fact the title will fall over itself before even trying them on.

This logic can be applied to love-to-hate figure Nick Clegg. Just last year, the boy who cried abolish tuition fees faced UKIP juggernaut Farage and there was something odd about it. It was almost as if Farage was looking into a mirror. Let me elaborate.

UKIP are on the rise, there’s no denying it. They’re expected to win a number of seats across Britain from voters who are sick of being disappointed by parties who, like any sort of developer, fail to meet the targets they promised. Funnily enough though, this was the same thing occurring with the Liberal Democrats in 2010. Cleggmania swept the nation, the saying “I’m with Clegg” became the political equivalent of Homer’s grunt doh and both the Tories and labour were shaking in their boots, attempting to smear and tarnish the reputation of the Lib Dems. We all know how it ended up though: the conservatives formed a coalition with the lib dems and the infamous CONDEM government ironically protected nobody.

You might be wondering why I’m bothering to look back on what’s happened in the past but the fact of the matter is that what’s happened to the Lib Dems is sure to occur to UKIP. Take the popularity of Farage at the moment. Plastered over the news any opportunity the media gets, the frog faced-loudmouth has appeared on so many TV’s that it’s almost 1984 reminiscent, ranging from cameos on goggle-box specials to question time where he faced off against comedian and born again political activist Russell Brand. Although Farage may lack the mass likeability of Clegg, he’s not without his fans. The Times infamously named him Briton of the Year and it’s not uncommon to hear supporters say that he’ll “save Britain from the brinks”.

Déjà vu? You wouldn’t be wrong. UKIP voters suffering from what I call “Farage Fever” are expecting the party to go through with their strict immigration regulations and their stance on the EU, just like those afflicted with Cleggmania in 2010 that wanted tuition fees abolished and public services saved. It doesn’t take a genius to know that Clegg didn’t go through with his proposals and has faced the consequences. No longer is the loveable nick we once knew. He’s now seen as a traitor by many and to say it’s impossible for the same to happen to Farage is ignorant to say the least.

The upcoming GE is looking as unstable as a London Eye replica made out of marzipan. The Conservatives are facing heavy criticism for the past 5 years, Labour are suffering a meltdown, Lib Dems are a joke to many and the rise of SNP and UKIP makes the outcome for May unpredictable. One last thing to consider: Nick Clegg pushed the concept of free tuition fees to the same extent as Farage has with Immigration. We know how the former worked out, time will only tell how Farage and Co. will fare under their hype train.

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